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Backlog: The Embiggening – October, 2018

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By Nelson Schneider - 09/30/18 at 04:20 PM CT

Welcome back to another look into the near future! October will be here in the blink of an eye, and since October is traditionally associated with horror thanks to the Pagan holiday of Samhain, upon which Halloween is based, we should all be well and truly prepared for the horrors the Games Industry will heap upon us in the coming month.

No, NO WAIT! I’m not ready for this much shovelware! After becoming complacent that perhaps intentionally-terrible garbage might be falling out of favor with publishers, October is bringing a downpour of no less than 20 shovelware releases, and in all of the major categories. We’ve got games based on other IPs, including anime/manga games like “Punchline,” “My Hero One’s Justice,” and a new game based on a very old anime “Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise.” Also in licensed crap, we’ve got “PAW Patrol: On a Roll” for the pre-school crowd (and whenever I hear people say the name of that IP aloud, I look around for a moment before I remember that my Papa Troll is dead), Kart Racers from both Nickelodeon AND Crayola, and a game based on the ‘Goosebumps’ series of pre-teen horror novellas. We’ve also got 2 LEGO games coming, one based on ‘Harry Potter’ and the other based on ‘DC Super-Villains.’ The one piece of licensed IP shovelware coming in October that doesn’t look like pure sewage is “Call of Cthulhu,” largely because the IP it’s based upon isn’t pure sewage… but it’s by Cyanide, so it will inevitably suck and act as a smear on Lovecraft’s reputation.

The next variety of shovelware to wade through is the super-casual minigame crap. Nintendo’s got a Switch exclusive in “Super Mario Party,” then Ubisoft has a new annual entry in their venerable ‘Just Dance’ series as well as a new plague that combines both minigames AND sports in “Sports Party,” while no-name Planet Entertainment has “Party Arcade.” Unsurprisingly, most of these are targeting the Switch, thanks to Nintendo’s reputation of being able to sell this flavor of swill since the Wii era.

Finally, we’ve got to stick the shovel into officially licensed Sports titles. There are a bunch of them, but “WWE 2K19” is as close as we’ll get to traditional Ape Ball sports. The rest of the licensed Sports titles are oddball things that I don’t particularly hate, like PBR Bull Riding, Fishing with either Cabela’s or Rapala, and Hunting with Cabela’s or… Cabela’s without the logo. Yes, there are a few ports mixed into all that crap, but I really don’t want to spend more time thinking about or categorizing things that should all be quarantined anyway…

Besides! There are plenty of non-shovelware ports to worry about! And, damn, some of these are REALLY horrific. There are no less than 15 ports and remasters coming in October, and guess who’s leading the way once again! That’s right, the Nintendo Switch! It will be getting ports of “Yomawari,” “Spintires,” “Cat Quest,” “Candle: The Power of Flame,” “The World Ends with You,” the vile and reprehensible plague on modern gaming known as “Dark Souls,” as well as a copycat of that horrific formula “Salt and Sanctuary.” The Switch will also be sharing a couple of ports with the old King of Ports, the PortStation 4, in “Disgaea” and “Flipping Death.” The PS4 will get “Hero Defense” like everyone else, along with the foot-dragging “Air Missions: HIND” and a remaster of an ancient arcade game, “Penguin Wars.” All of the major platforms will share the torment of a reboot of “Mutant Football League” (whose title seems completely redundant to me, as every football league is full of mutants), while the Big Boy Consoles will get a compilation of the worst things this side of the Roguelike genre, because Namco-Bandai just won’t leave it alone long enough to leave the gaming zeitgeist. Oh, and the 3DS’ corpse is getting a port of “Luigi’s Mansion,” because reasons.

Somehow, the publishers managed to squeeze 9 legit new multi-platform releases into the month of October, interspersed with all the crap and old stuff. Literally everyone is getting “Warriors Orochi 4” (as if anyone exists who isn’t sick of the taste of Musou yet), while the consoles will be getting a new Visual Novel in “Death Mark,” as well as Ubisoft’s new toys-to-life SHMUP they’ve been touting for the past two E3s, “Starlink,” which, as far as I’m concerned, may as well be a Switch exclusive, considering that the only hype I’ve heard concerning the game comes from Nintendo Fanboys who will buy anything Nintendo, and will therefore buy “Stalink” due to the ‘Star Fox’ crossover content available exclusively on Nintendo’s platform. The PS4 and XBONE will be sharing “Red Dead Redemption 2,” because Rock* hates PC gaming for some reason (not that I love Rock*’s flavor of Sandbox anyway). However, every other publisher seems to put PC gaming on the same footing as consoles nowadays (as they should), with a PC/PS4/XBONE release of “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” (right on time), “Space Hulk: Tactics” (by Cyanide and Focus Home, so don’t get too excited, ‘Warhammer’ fanatics), “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” (which makes me want to buy an ‘AssCreed’ game for the first time ever thanks, much like “FarCry 5,” to its setting and themes), as well as two PC gaming newcomers, “SoulCalibur 6” and “Mega Man 11.” Personally, I’m over ‘Mega Man’ and have been for decades. I’d love to play a new ‘SoulCalibur,’ though, I’m just concerned that it will have crappy single-player content like “SoulCalibur 5” and SoulCalibur 4,” and will be riddled with macrotransactions and predatory money-hatting BS because it’s 2018 and Namco-Bandai is almost as egregious as Konami in that regard.

Where does that leave exclusives? Not in great shape, that’s for sure. Nothing new and notable is coming exclusively to any PC storefront, while Sony is dragging its feet with “Valthirian Arc” from a few months ago (which is only a ‘timed’ exclusive, to boot), Nintendo is dragging its feet with “Gal Metal” from prior months, and Microsoft is pushing out “Forza Horizon 4” for XBONE and Windows 10. Whoop-dee-doo.

Finally, VR is back in the running this month. Oculus is releasing new hardware, while PlayStation VR is getting a couple of variant releases: Dinosaur-themed “ARK Park” and robot-themed “Astro Bot: Rescue Mission.” Nothing really to get excited about, but hey, VR isn’t dead yet!

Man, after last month’s deluge of RPG awesomeness (which included the surprise release of “Pathfinder: Kingmaker” exclusively on PC), this October is going to be a real let-down. I’ll pick up “Assassin’s Creed Odyssey” for a competent Greek Sandbox experience once all the copious amounts of DLC are released and the price normalizes a bit (currently, Ubisoft wants over $100 for the non-gimped version, even digitally). I’ll also give “SoulCalibur 6” the same treatment, as other games journalists and pundits have discovered that Namco-Bandai is stripping out core content to re-sell later as DLC, so it’s definitely not something to support at full price (even though Namco-Bandai bringing this J-Fighter series to PC is a step in the right direction). Other than those two, I might consider the “Call of Cthulhu” game by Cyanide if it somehow meets the bare minimum for quality and competence as exemplified by Cyanide’s “Of Orcs and Men,” but I’m dubious it will.

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